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I have a video game collection; my favs are listed below.
I got into gaming when I was 5yo when I got a Nintendo for my bday
Currently playing FFXIII

I am 25yo male

:) Square, Enix, Square-Enix, Atlus, and Capcom are my LIFE.

I'll let my collection do the talking,

I actually own all of these games
I wish I had a hell of a lot more

PS1

Valkyrie Profile
Final Fantasy Anthology (5 + 6)
Final Fantasy Chronicles (4 + Chrono Trigger)
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy IX
Chrono Cross
Tales of Destiny
Tales of Destiny II
Thousand Arms
Xenogears
The Legend of Dragoon
Resident Evil 1
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 3
Parasite Eve
Parasite Eve 2
Mega Man Legends
Mega Man Legends II
Vagrant Story
Suikoden
Suikoden II
Star Ocean Second Story
Legend of Legaia
Breath of Fire III
Breath of Fire IV
Brave Fencer Musashi
Grandia
Lunar Silver Star Story Complete
Wild Arms
Wild Arms II

PS2

Ar Tonelico
Dark Cloud
Dark Cloud II
Dawn of Mana
Disgaea
Disgaea II
Breath of Fire V (Dragon Quarter)
Dragon Quest VIII
Dual Hearts
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X-2
Final Fantasy XII
Grandia X-Treme
Grandia II
Grandia III
Ico
Growlanser (Heritage of War)
Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts II
La Pucelle Tactics
Legaia Dual Saga (Legend of Legaia II)
Magna Carta
Mana Khemia
Odin Sphere
Radiata Stories
Resident Evil Code Veronia X
Resident Evil 4
Samurai Legend Musashi
Shadow of the Colussus
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga II
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner II
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona III
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona III: Fes
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Star Ocean III
Suikeden III
Tales of Legendia
Tales of Abyss
Valkyrie Profile II
Wild Arms Alter Code F
Wild Arms III
Wild Arms IV
Wild Armss V
Xenosaga I
Xenosaga II
Xenosaga III

PSP

Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core
Star Ocean First Departure
Star Ocean Second Evolution
Riviera
Final Fantasy Tactics
Valkyrie Profile Lenneth
Wild Arms XF
Yggdra Union
Persona

Game Cube

Tales of Symphonia
Skies of Arcadia Legends
Resident Evil Zero
Zelda Collectors Edition (Zelda 1 and 2 from Nintendo) (Ocarana of Time and Majoras Mask from N64)
Zelda Wind Waker
Baten Kaitos Origins

Wii

Mario Kart
Chocobos Dungeon
Super Mario Galaxy
Twilight Princess
Smash Bros Brawl
Resident Evil, Umbrella Chronicles

PS3

Valkyria Chronicles
Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age: Awakening
Resonance of Fate
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Fallout 3 (GOTYE)
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
Star Ocean: The Last Hope
Oblivion (GOTYE)
Heavy Rain
Nier
3D Dot Heroes
Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition
Super Street Fighter IV
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Tekken 6
Dead to Rights: Retribution
Dead Rising 2
Soul Calibur IV
Demons Souls
Bayonetta
Final Fantasy XIII
Bioshock
Bioshock 2
Dantes Inferno: Divine Edition
inFamous

Stuff I don't Have...That I neeeeddd!!!!
(too expensive to track down, or not yet out)

Persona II (psp holidays 2011)
Magna Carta Crimson Stigma (360)
Lost Odyssey (360)
Fable (Xbox)
Fable II (360)
Mana Khemia II (PS2)
Disgaea III (PS3)
The 3rd Birthday (PSP)
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (DS)
Arc the Lad Collection (PS1)(PSN)
Alundra (1+2) (ps1)(PSN)
Baten Kaitos (gamecube)
Eternal Sonata (ps3)
The World Ends with you (ds)
Lunar Eternal Blue Complete (ps1)
Eternal Poison (ps2)
Baroque (Wii)
Tales of Symphonia II (wii)
Ar Tonelico II (ps2)
Final Fantasy Vs XIII (Ps3)
Final Fantasy Agito XIII (PSP)

Games that Don't exist, that I would LOVE to see

New Lufia III
New Breath of Fire VI
Remakes of Dragon Quest series for PSP
Remakes of Tales of Destiny for PSP
Remakes of Arc the Lad for PSP
Remake of Nocturne for PSP
Remake of FFVII with better graphics ONLY, nothing else updated (I can dream)
New Legend of Dragoon
New Legend of Legaia
Xenogears II, (fuck xenosaga, they screwed that shit up good, you wouldn't know if you didnt play xenogears you dumb bitch) or Update with better graphics
Im sure I can think of more later.....

Also, you name it, I have it when it comes to ROMS / Emulation
for all good RPGS on (atari, gameboy, snes, nes, sega, etc)
Wish I had originals, but to track them down would be ridiculous.
I have a few ps1 games in roms too, that I don't have in real life

You need to play Shining games, and Lufia games IMMEDIATELY or die :)
Radical Dreamers... omg amazing if you can find the translated game
Mystic Quest, Illusion of Gaia, Terranigma, Mana Games, Earthbound Series,
Ogre Battle, Secret of Evermore, Soul Blazer, Tales of Phantasia, theres more
but I can't remember

If you haven't figured it out,
im a little more old school

I love my rpg's, a few fighting games, and my survival horror.
Umm hit me up if you wanna :)

-Dan
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***Warning, this is pretty much a rant of why I think the latest RPG games have been unsatisfactory to say the least when compared to many retro games. Don't waste your time if you don't have much experience with either***

Perhaps I am too old school for my own good. This is not to say that I have not been playing any other genre as of late. I have purchased and played or have beaten Force Unleashed II, Castlevania LOS, Dead Rising 2, Dead to Rights, and many others. I have never been a huge fan of the Call of Duty, or Halo series, and I couldn't really say why.

I have played Fallout 3, and got bored with repetition, same goes for Oblivion. I have Demons Souls, but have yet to get too far into it, I suppose I am scared by the stigma of how hard is supposedly is. I will of course get there soon.

This is not to say that there have been no retro type RPG games, but they are few and far between, and I fear that action based RPG's are becoming the norm, and it only took me 3 days to beat 3D Dot Heroes because I gobbled it up. The only strategy based RPG I have played recently for the PS3 is Valkyria Chronicles, but it left me wanting more. I will most likely eventually pick up its sequel on PSP.

I am still pretty prone to picking up my old RPG's on PS2 and PS1. If you look at my video game collection which is in my profile, you will know what kinds of games I tend to play. I am afraid to pick up the new Kingdom Hearts game, because I have heard extremely mixed reviews.

The only game I have played as of late that I particularly enjoyed was Resonance of Fate. It had a good mixture of side quests which could involve fetching things for other people, and battles. There was a battle arena with tons of challenges. Multiple difficulties. Very interesting religious / socioeconomic plot. A map system I have never seen before. Battle system which is unlike any I have seen, and dungeons which are fairly easy to navigate.

Before I lament much further I must let you all know that I am a PS3 owner. I do not have an Xbox360 because when it came to selection of RPG's Playstation seemed to be where it was at. I have played and beaten FFXIII, which I thought was garbage compared to what it could have been. Its biggest downfall was its level progression, uninteresting magic and summon usage, terrible plot, and linear dungeons. Tried my hand at Dragon Ages, which I found very boring as you could only control one character, and the level progression was annoying due to a lack of good areas to fight, and I am all for customization, but sometimes there is just too much.

Perhaps that is my biggest fault. I am one of those people who like to have a certain amount of boundaries. If I was interested in limitless gameplay I would be more interested in MMORPGs. But unfortunately those have never struck a chord with me either.

I am not saying I am looking for a solely turn based game, but what I am looking for would perhaps be a nod to predecessors that had a winning combination of features / music / battle system / gameplay etc such as the following. Final Fantasy VII, Star Ocean 1-3, Final Fantasy Tactics, Wild Arms 1-2, Grandia 1-2, Xenogears, Shin Megami Persona series, Digital Devil Saga, and Nocturne etc etc.

What I have found over the years is that boundaries make a game more enjoyable. There should be lots of places to go, but not so many that it is hard to find any form of linear progression. It should not take a considerable period of time to walk from one village / dungeon to the next place, but perhaps there is a side event or two. I am also uninterested in games that make side progress work. There should be mini-games that take your mind of the repetition of battles, towns, world map, etc. Few games are capable of creating this balance.

I think that one of the most disappointing facts as of late is that the games that are coming out have no plot whatsoever, or if they do there is no character development. This is a delicate ying and yang mixture for a person like me. I need a game that focuses enough on the characters that you actually get to know them, and find reasons to relate with them. This development should obviously tie in with the plot, and enhance the flow of the game. I haven't seen too much of this lately in any genre of gaming. I am the kind of person who gets lost in a story, not just the graphics. Which are obviously great at this current point in time compared to how they used to be.

It seems a lot of the good conceptual RPGs are coming out on Nintendo DS, and PSP. But I am bored with replaying the classics. I have conquered the Lufia series, the FF series, the Chrono series, the Earthbound series, etc etc etc.

By the way I have also played the newest Star Ocean, and I can safely say I was unimpressed with that game as well. No plot, annoying characters, etc, the only thing they did right was the battle system, and even that could have been improved upon with variations of their old battle systems.

I would also have to say that for me the Battle System should be top notch as well. There needs to be leveling, optional dungeons for people who want more of a challenge, spells, summons, and weapons of all kinds, a variety of specialties. Free range combat (Star Ocean, Kingdom Hearts) / turn based (Final Fantasy, Wild Arms, Breath of Fire) / strategy based (Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea, Valkyria Chronicles) / hack and slash games (Zelda) are all interesting to me.

Perhaps there are a few gems out there that have eluded me, and please let me know what those are if you have any good suggestions.

I think what has happened is that we are more interested in US RPGs because many of the high profile franchise JP RPGs have been poorly done. Unfortunately I just can't get into first person, do a ton of mini quests, lack of a plot, no linear correlation, or too much linear correlation type games that have been force fed to me over the last few years.

I of course have been looking into future games that will be coming out eventually and have to say I am very impressed with FF vs XIII, The 3rd Birthday (Parasite Eve 3), FF Agito XIII, and the port of Persona 2 to PSP (never could find that for a reasonable price on eBay) but only time can tell.

If only Enix still existed on its own. Sigh.

In my opinion it all went wrong with FFX, the merging of Square with Enix, and the over conceptualization, or over simplification of any of the important structures a game is supposed to possess (plot, battle, world map, dungeons, etc) This is not to say I want a repeat, but as Coca Cola, and McDonald's very well know, to deviate from a formula that works, is to cut off both hands. There have got to be some better ideas out there, and I fear that if nothing noteworthy comes out soon, that I may have to find a different hobby. I equate my gaming experience of late to an overweight ugly creeper that sits at the bar hitting on women getting rejected time and time again. Though this person may eventually get laid (and I may eventually find a game to play that doesn't feel like work, or that fits any of the criteria of a good RPG that I have listed beforehand) the effort I am putting forth isn't worth the result (enjoyment) that I am looking for.








How to sum up a game that could have been good in one word: Disappointing!

First of all. Every dungeon in the entire game gives you a map, and for what purpose I am still unclear because every dungeon in the ENTIRE GAME except for Gran Pulse (which is annoyingly large and completely unnecessary in order to complete the game) is linear. Meaning that all you have to do is walk in a straight line.

There are very few hidden items; as it is almost impossible to miss most items as they are contained in floating orbs that are blatantly obvious. There are very few that are "out of the way" and most of the ones that are, have nothing in there worth wasting your time over.

The story is pathetic. The characters are one dimensional. Summoning is disappointing and mostly useless unless you want to knock down an Adamantoise quickly to farm for money and Trapezhedrons in order to make ultimate weapons which you do not need.

Awful voice acting makes this game annoying at most times. I would have prefered it be in Japanese with subtitles.

All in all I must say that the game had amazing graphics, and was seamless with loading in the PS3 version. Great fight scenes, and a very addictive ATB (battle) format.

If you are debating on whether or not you should buy this I would say no unless you are a hardcore fan. The entire game offers little to no challenge unless you plan on running around Gran Pulse doing missions which are annoying, and tedious.

Character Synopsis:

Lightning: (Actual name Claire)

I identified with this character the most. Seemed to be the only one with an agenda, but never really felt like she was the leader as the game forcefully made you have a certain group of party members nearly the whole game. Also didn't let you choose which Jobs you would like to have until nearly the end of the game as well.

I liked it when she punched Snow, because I am convinced he is a douche bag. Is the best character in the game battle wise, until Fang eventually surpasses her in strength, and makes her turn into a well balanced support character. Pretty much the strong silent type. Seemed annoyed with everyone in general which seemed to be a good outlook as most of the other characters offered little to the plot and were annoying.

Snow:

If I have to hear the word "Hero" I would prefer it be done by someone with a moral agenda, or someone who is actually interesting. This guy basically runs from himself the entire game with an overwhelmingly annoying sense of "heroic" ideal which doesn't translate to the plot in any way. Tries to pull his crystalized fiance out of the ground with a metal stick and is captured by an even bigger douche bag, rendering him gone for the first half of the game, which was fine by me. Rarely had to use him, which made me happy. Shiva is not two people btw, this made me want to puke.

Sazh:

Can't pronounce his name, or his child's. Basically followed Lightning for no good reason. Then attempted to flee with Vanille, got caught and eventually decided to save the world. Bird in his nappy weave annoyed the shit out of me. Battle wise was completely useless and you were forced to use him often. His son was manipulated by the hot girl with glasses that was murdered by Bart (fal'cie)

Serah:

Would have liked to see her as a playable character, coulda pulled the whole Aeris and had her die later, thusly creating some kind of connection to this person. Basically I was curious why she was even included at all if she was going to "die" right off the bat. Anyone stupid enough to fall for Snow deserves to sleep for eternity in crystal.

Hope:

Annoying child, hated his personality and only used him for his magic stat. His momma died right off the bat, and what they were doing without the father made no sense to me. Why the mother picked up a gun was also pretty retarded. His hatred towards Snow made no sense but amused me because Snow is a douche. Liked seeing him try to kill Snow, which was his only redeeming quality.

Vanille:

Interesting back story as she was the girl from Pulse with powers before Anima bestowed them on the fated group. Annoyingly happy all the fucking time. Useless in battle except for her Death skill which is only used to farm Adamantoise.

Fang:

Rarely speaks, not much of a plot thickener which made me dislike using her in battle, but her high Strength Stat was good for toppling assholes. Just wish she was more effective as a Ravager. Basically played second fiddle to Vanille's controversy.


Plot Synopsis:

Pulse l'Cie (stupid name) are bestowed magic powers by Fal'Cie (god like thingies) that the general public are afraid of. The reason for this fear is never explained very well, it just alludes to a war in the past. They are basically manipulated into killing Orphan which is a god like creature that holds the world of Cocoon together. Mysteriously when they kill Orphan, which they swear not to do, does not destroy the world because somehow Fang and Vanille make a crystal pillar to hold the world up before it falls to Pulse and is destroyed, which would have supposedly summoned "the Maker" to recreate existance.

There are no strong characters, and the motives for doing what they are doing are not very clear either. None of the boss battles are challenging. The battle system was amazingly fun and addicting until about half way through the game when you needed to stagger practically every single enemy in order to kill it.

Pro List

Fun battle system
Seamless loading
Wonderful music
Fantastic graphics
amazing environments
creative and detailed enemies

Con List

Game interrupted constantly, I swear every time you take a footstep its time for a conversation
Summons are useless, unless you want to take down adamantoise, which is not necessary
very little customization. I beat the game with the weapons I started the game with
Crystarium is basically a rip off of FFX but with less customization

You can't choose jobs until end of game, and when you get control you can't really make your characters do what you want to do as efficiently as others. Some are better at certain jobs than others.

You don't get control of who you want your party until the end of the fucking game, and many of the characters suck and are annoying.
Very little character development
Awful plot with annoying terms that confuse you half the game
not much to offer on the difficulty range
staggering enemies is necessary to kill most regular encounters, which wastes time
getting money is a pain in the ass
linear levels are painfully boring, and easy as an arrow constantly points you in the right direction, and is laughable because the LEVELS ARE ALL A STRAIGHT LINE

Basically I was disapointed. The only thing that seemed to be highly glossed up was the battle system, and even that had its flaws, and offered little difficulty.

"Auto Battle" basically you mash X the whole game, and the game chooses the best actions based on the fight you are in by using previously aquired data that automatically saves itself as you kill enemies.

Annoying "kiddie" characters, nothing dark, or deep, in the plot line, which is where most other games that are good are delving into.

Square really needs to stop the over glamorization and conceptualization of its games, and get back to its roots. I also missed Towns and World Maps, and Side quests ( in ffxiii they are only available after you beat the game) The last games they made that were great were FFVII, and FF Tactics. I thought for sure Enix would offer some interesting ideas, but I fear it was merely just a buyout of a competitor.

-Dan








http://videogames.yahoo.com/events/plugged-in/study-games-are-depressing-or-are-they-/1346074

Anyway,

Firstly I will say I am fairly unimpressed with the study, as it was completely vague and had no statistics, or any real information of any kind, and I couldn't find any links to the findings, the test group / interview of, or anything that held any validity of any kind.

First Paragraph:

"The average gamer is 35, overweight, and more likely to be depressed, says a new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention."

I was fairly shocked by this "diagnosis" of who the average gamer is. Honestly I am kind of suprised to see that the average gaming age is so high. If I had been asked that question off the cuff I would have guessed 18-25. Which leads me to wonder exactly "who," this survey was targeted at....

Second Paragraph:

The study, which was carried out in the Seattle-Tacoma area, found that gamers reported "lower extraversion, consistent with research on adolescents that linked video-game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status, and to mental-health concerns."

I honestly don't have a lot of video game playing friends, and usually do the activity in question by myself as the friends I do have often don't really present much of a challenge for me, and I have never really been interested in Online Gaming. Thats just me though, I am not knocking it by any means, my ass should be embracing it instead of running away from it, but I know how I get when I get absorbed in those kinds of games as well.

I can honestly see how some of these things could possibly be correlated, but personally I can only see this as a worst case scenario. I don't see how someone could get up, go to work, spend time with their wife and kids... and I only say these things because the target age is 35 for crying out loud, and still find time to immerse their lives in a "sedentary lifestyle." The article goes on to say....

Third Paragraph:

It also indicated a curious difference between male and female gamers: the former proved more overweight and reported more Internet usage than non-gamer men, while female gamers reported more depression and lower general health than non-gamer women.

I was interested to see that they went on to "classify," the difference between Male, and Female gamers, and that supposedly Male Gamers spend more time online, and prove to be more overweight than their non-gamer counterparts. Also that women reported more depression and lower general heath than their non gamer counterparts. But of course this is in the Seattle-Tacoma area, and I really must say that I have never been there, or done any research on the place. But I am willing to bet that gamers in more Metropolitan areas such as Chicago, San Francisco, New York, etc etc would have slightly different findings as well.

Fourth Paragraph:

"But which comes first, the games or the poor health? The researchers hypothesized that depressed individuals might be turning to games as a means of self-medication, immersing themselves in a game's world as a way of forgetting about real-life troubles."

I agree a bit with this statement, especially as I am unemployed right now, thusly giving me a large amount of free time. But I also Volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. I attend College. I work out 5 times a week, and am definitely not one of the "fit the profile" type people they described above. I have a good BMI (body mass index) and I keep myself busy. I can definitely play me some video games all day when I have the opportunity, but I most certainly don't do this every day. I just find such a blanket statement completely unfounded without further research. I honestly wouldn't even be concerned if I didn't see this pop up as the headline on my Yahoo.com homepage.

Fifth Paragraph:

"Habitual use of video games as a coping response may [provide] a genesis for obsessive-compulsive video-game playing, if not video-game addiction," one researcher told MSNBC. The study calls for "further research among adults to clarify how to use digital opportunities more effectively to promote health and prevent disease."

I agree they need further research, but again, how many people actually read an article that pops up on their computer? I find that there are some people out there, at least in my opinion, that immediately accept a headline for what it is, without reading the article at all, and apply it in general conversation in order to will their unknowledgeable factoid on the general masses, who usually accept whatever it is they are told by said person.

I can't lie about the fact that I play video games as a coping mechanism. I do, its a safe haven from reality, its a sense of accomplishment, a sense of entertainment, a way to kill boredom, a great way to interact with other people. It is a hobby for a lot of people out there. I never walk into a gamestop that is empty in fact. I am sure that there are people out there that may be "compulsive, or dependant, or even addicted" to video games, as I have had my phases of Video Game Addiction. But fuck, at least its not METH, or CRACK, come on people! Lets try and focus on drug dealers, and suburban meth labs, and gang wars than some "overweight, 35 year old" who happens to have a hobby. At least he isn't raping children, or shooting up the local shopping mall.

Sixth Paragraph:

As luck would have it, a study at East Carolina University funded by Bejeweled maker Popcap Games is also investigating the possible mental health benefits of game playing. Having already discovered that Bejeweled can improve mood and heart rhythms, the Carolina group is about to embark on an investigation in an attempt to determine whether games like Bejeweled can also deliver clinically significant improvements to depression sufferers.

This part just confuses me, do video games, prevent depression, or cause it? I think someone who plays video games to escape from reality, is much healthier than someone who gets drunk off their ass every night. Every part of culture, and sub-culture have its acceptable, and unacceptable characteristics. Some people don't fit in with mainstream society, and I feel I am one of them. I am not a shallow, dehumanising person who thinks that the only things that are important are alcohol, sex, and glory. I hate how that image has been projected upon just about everyone, and I completely understand that some people want to get away from being treated like garbage, when they can pop in a video game and take on the persona of a warrior, or mage, or whatever it is that they do, and get their mind off of it.

In my opinion, and from my own personal experience, Video Gaming has prevented me from losing my mind, and helped me maintain my cool. Much better to take out aggression on Fighting Games, or GTA, RE, etc etc, than on your local neighborhood school. I think that what these studies are suggesting is the EXCEPTION, not the RULE. Video games don't make you fat, eating shitty food, and not exercising do, that is a matter of motivation, and everyone's is different. I am the person I am, but I can't say that someone else is "right or wrong," for playing a little bit more video games than I do, or not exercising. Everyone has their own priorities, and goals.

Final Paragraph:

"The research is part of a broad array of unconventional efforts that video game companies are devising to find new markets for their products," says Shankar Vedantam, writing this week for the Washington Post. "Many of these steps are based on the idea that depression and other disorders -- as well as everyday stress and worry -- involve systematic patterns of thought and self-doubt, and that games can distract people and put them in a different mental zone

Everything ends off on a positive note, that "unconventional efforts are being made to show that game can distract people and put them in a different mental zone," But I guess you can interpret this article either way as it is very vague, and holds absolutely no merit in my opinion. I have heard studies say that video games increase self esteem, make for better reflexes, and decrease the chances of your eyes going bad. It really all depends on the classifications.

In my opinion in order to make a "good" more effective study they would have needed to isolate different target groups.

Obviously Geographical location should be one of them.
Age ranges should be another one. A lot of kids get started on games, and then stop later in life, and a lot of older people didn't have the games we do today and get started later in life. Also what kinds of games are there out there, which genre's of games do these people play?

I am willing to guess that these "35 year old overweight" gamers are probably the buyers, more than the actual players, and their children are the more heavy reciepients of what this study should be focusing on. But maybe im wrong, who knows this is merely my opinion and as I said I didn't do any further research on the matter.

If anyone has any other articles with more merit they could direct me to, I would greatly appreciate it.

-Dan







Persona
3:37 AM on 08.19.2009

*Spoiler Alert.

Alright, I have been putting off creating a post such as this for awhile, due to the extreme amount of speculation that can be brought to this table. But nonetheless I am really doing this for two reasons, firstly to see what others opinions are on my personal favories, and secondly to try and see if anyone can push a couple more really great RPG's into my focus.

I suppose it will be necessary to come up with some rules on how I will judge this, because obviously this isn't really a matter I take too lightly. Unfortunately I haven't yet gotten ahold of any next gen RPG's but at the same time, I have heard that this really isn't the most awful curse one could have thrown at them. I am also pretty JRPG focused, and very old school.

If you have any additions, / speculations I welcome them with open arms. My personal rule is that I never use "help" the first time I play a game "gamefaqs.com / guidebooks" and I also will try to keep to my opinion the first time I played the game, not the 100th.

My first judging factor will be Playability. What is most important to me with regard to this factor is how easy is it to just pick up and play. Simple enough right? This doesn't mean difficulty, this just means to me, how easy is it to get absorbed into. Obviously this is one of my most speculative rules.

My second judging factor will be Difficulty. I don't like games that are too easy, but with regard to the above statement, I hate games that take too long to get the hang of as well.

Third is going to have to be Battle Operations. A lot of things go into this, especially the first two classifications, but I am going to be focusing more on originality of the system, and how much fun it is. Nothing is worse than a monotonous fighting structure.

Fourth will be customization. This includes spells / skills you learn as you level up. Combo attacks, battle tactics, and such. I love the ability to customize the game to the players fit, such as focusing on taking a more magical or a more physical route with characters, etc.

Fifth is going to be Plot, keep in mind these judging criteria are not in order of importance. Twists, Character Development, that kind of thing.

Lastly will be Replay Value, the ability to actually place this game more than once.

I will analyze a few of my favorites based on these criteria, and will give an award in each of the categories to the games I choose. Let me know if you think my criteria, game chosen, etc should be tweaked for future blogging. I will also not be judging the games on what I think are #1 - whatever, these will be in no particular order as well. I will let you choose if you think these games / criteria / whatever deserve to be on here. Forgive me if I jump around a bit. I will give each factor a 1-10 rating, but the cumulative score isn't necessairly going to mean its my favorite one.

With regard to that I will start with probably one of the most recognizable games FFVII, I will add this same forewarnment to any future games I choose to do as well. For now I will just stick with this one since this blog is already longer than I anticipated, maybe I will do a top ten later.

Final Fantasy 7

Playability: Right away when you pop in the game, you go through a cut scene, and have a little bit of time to interact on the field, to get familiar with your environment. You do get to have a little bit of customization at first, but nothing that is going to really affect this factor. Obviously once Materia is introduced you will be getting a lot more Customization, and for a newbie to RPG's this can definitely be a factor. I can say that this was the first RPG I really played with any kind of consistancy, hence my reason for choosing it, that and the fact that I have beaten it dozens of times. As a first time gamer, putting this game in got me hooked very quickly, the beginning draws you right into the world with little difficulty, and keeps you hooked through most of the game in my opinion.

I found that there are few factors that made me really want to turn this game off. Levelling up is fairly easy, just playing through the game doesn't require much if any level grinding. If you don't know where to look for special easter egg's (ultimate weapons, summons, etc etc) you can still finish the game, and enjoy it. Of course I highly recommend Chocobo Racing, and Knights of the Round Quest. etc etc. It has a fairly good balance of plot, then fighting, then mini games, it mixes it up enough to keep it interesting through the end of the game, and there are tons of things to do on the side. I must say that Yuffie stealing all your materia did make me want to throw my controller at the tv, but you didn't have to recruit that bitch anyway. I would say the playability is about a 6 for my first time through, I would get caught up by some of the side quests, and get a little lost, and the high degree of customization also made things difficult at some points too. I actually did turn this game off and start over because I got stuck in Wutai, my second time I did not recruit Yuffie (what a noob i was lol) Subdiving for the Ancient key was kinda stupid too. Bone City digging was gay as well. If you don't use a guide, because a lot of the easter eggs can only be done on certain disks, at certain times, it can be frustrating to miss limits for Aeris / Vincent, and things like that as well. For the most part the plot leads you in the right direction though. The playability is a 9 once you figure everything out ( a few annoying parts) but I believe that if you don't cheat and use guides a 6 is appropriate. (I factor this because you can't find everything / may miss characters / and since I used Aeris as a Permanent member of the party the first time losing her made it especially annoying.)

Difficulty: Honestly I found nothing too difficult about this entire game except for a few of the hidden bosses, which can easily be destroyed with the correct preperation. But at the same time it wasn't too easy either. My first time playing I didn't just breeze through the way I can now after a multitude of playthroughs, and it is hard for me to imagine the first time I went through this beast back when I was in Middle School. But I can safely say that I did have trouble spots where I needed to go back, and level up, and adjust strategies, buy new materia etc. But one of my big Rules about RPGS that I hold myself personally accountable for is to never use a game guide on the first time I play through a game. On a scale of 1-10 I would say the difficulty is a 7 more for the sake of "first time plays" customization, playability, etc. Also for the fact you were probably not going to tackle the hidden bosses, or find everything unless you used a guide. I would reduce this to a 3 if your a veteran in the RPG business due to how much customization you get. Its one of those funny things that make it a bit hard the first time, but easier as you figure it out. (Shin Megami series is a LOT harder, Wild Arms requires more Strategy)

Battle Operations: Even though this battle structure is a fairly overused one, it was new to me at the time. I like that you can customize the ATB speed, because there is nothing more annoying than waiting 5 mins to attack, of course speeding it up makes you have to think a little bit faster obviously. A lot of customization goes into this factor because of Materia. Really there were not a lot of "physical" materia, and I would have liked to see more of that, kind of like how it was used in Crisis Core. I always stuck to pretty heavy magic loading, with the exception of limit breaks, never cared for the more "magical" ones. I liked Cloud, Barrett, and Cid, for their multi hit physical final attack limit breaks. Didn't care for Vincents transform then berserk bs. Most of Aeris's were pretty dumb, and you couldnt get them all unless you wasted a lot of time on her, and watched her Die shortly thereafter. Cait Sith... really... was just useless, never once used him. Yuffie was kinda a douche bag, her annoying steal your materia shit was never worth picking her up in my opinion. Her last limit is useless, unless you want to power up her base stats for a multi hit physical limit 3, I thought she left a lot to be desired. Tifa was a bit random for my tastes, and Red XIII is a talking dog thing and if Hojo killed him before I got there, I wouldn't have minded his last one is like Yuffies one hit for 9999 only.

Sorry, got a little bit into plot there, but those are really just more my preferences on battle usage. Plus the Power Up's for Ultimate Weapons for Cloud, Barrett, and Cid were pretty easy to deal with too. For my first playthrough it was fairly easy to test the waters with each character, and decide what I liked by myself, I actually did end up finding all the characters on my own as well. (Yuffie / Vincent are optional) I didn't find all the ultimate weapons / limits my first try, but for the sake of the Operations part I thought it was necessary. I never found battle to be "too slow" or "too fast," and it is still pretty innovative, and straight forward if you ask me. I would give this an 8. Loses points for Originality, pretty cut and dry if you ask me.


Customization. FFVII is one of the few games I can honestly say had it all. If you seek a high degree of customization, or choose to simply buy your materia and play with it, you could get through the game either way. You had Yellow Materia "command" to steal, manipulate, attack, item, magic, w-item / magic (2x in one turn) and many more. Red "summon" and plenty of beasts to choose from. Green "magic" every elemental flavor except holy and dark really, that was pretty much exclusive to Alexander and Hades. You can count cure on Undead too I suppose. Blue "support" all, final attack, etc etc. You could make any character into anything you wanted, but didn't have to. There were many ways to kill enemies (which made me knock off some points for difficulty) Might have been cool to see some other spells, but there were definitely enough. Shoot it got a little time consuming in the menu choosing which materia were worth leveling, and which were not. Tons of Armor, and Weapons, and effects to go with those. Accessories left a little to be desired.... I would have loved a 3rd Ribbon.....Not to mention Limits, explained in the battle section. Very well rounded if you ask me. I would say a 9 I say, there are a few other more Customizable games in my opinion. (Dark Cloud with towns, Shin Megami with demons / personas / mantra etc, any tactical RPG's with classes) but still very good.

Plot: You could miss some elements of the Plot via easter eggs, but not enough for me to say I would really dock the points system on this all that much. The Plot kept me really hooked throughout the game because it was multifaceted. It wasn't about saving the world at first, as much as it was a rag tag group of rebel environmentalists, with a hired "jack of all trades" who happened to have a personality complex. It has a Love Triangle between Aeris, Tifa, and Cloud. I liked the Character Development of Cloud, but as many RPG's go, the rest of the characters usually fall short. Barrett, Marlene and his hometown / Dyne, Cid and the Space program. Tifa, her hometown, and the Bar / Love triangle. Aeris adopted, real mom is Ancient. Vincent is Hojo's son / Shinra involvement (never played Dirge of Cerberus, heard it sucked) Cloud and Sephiroths duality / mental breakdown, I personally loved the psychology between these two conflicting forces. Yuffie and the war for materia. Red XIII awww he's all alone.... boo hoo GRANDPA nooooo!. Cait Sith spy becomes reformed. Sephiroths mental breakdown from being experimented on, his apathy towards other people, arrogance of skill, finding out the truth of his origin, belief that he was superior, etc etc. Just didn't like that Sephiroth was actually in the crator the whole time but it does explain why he didn't kill our heroes, because he could have at any time otherwise, and it was his crazy clones dropping off random jenova parts.

Replay Value. One of the best for any game I played, but maybe its because it was my first RPG that I feel so biased towards it. That and the fact that if you play it without guidebooks you can find something new everytime and using the guide book helps you to uncover even more you will grow to love about this game. The plot is worth reliving. Minimal interferance from Playability. Difficulty isn't so annoying that you don't want to play it again, but not so easy that you don't have a few challenges / excuses to level up. Good customization and Battle Operations. I would say I don't know anyone that hasn't played through the whole thing that didn't do it a few times. Wouldn't put it up there with Parasite Eve or Resident Evil games though because of the length, but its still good. I would say 9.

-Dan

I hope to do one on Parasite Eve, WIld Arms, Xenogears, Grandia, Shin Megami series, and a few others im kind of on a quest to replay a few of my faves. Let me know if you liked my first installment, if not maybe I won't waste my time








Warning: If you read any of this, most of it contains spoilers, so if you want to play the game, and haven’t yet, then don’t read this.

The definition of Persona with regard to psychology is: The mask or façade presented to satisfy the demands of the situation or the environment and not representing the inner personality of the individual; the public personality

An interesting side note is that the actual personality is called the Anima.
The definition of this is the inner personality that is turned toward the unconscious of the individual.

With regard to Persona 3 and 4, obviously the Anima life of the characters would be the social links, and school events that take place outside of the TV in Persona 4, and the Dark Hour (the time in between 11:59, and Midnight) in Persona 3.

I find it very interesting all of the psychological principals that exist in this game.
Everyone but the main character of the game has one set persona that they can invoke in the “other” worlds in order to overcome the situations that have created these other worlds. In Persona 3 the basic premise is that the “other” world in which you can use your persona is always changing, and a huge dungeon takes the place of your school during the “Dark Hour” in Persona 4 the world inside the TV is actually the thoughts of the cumulative population, and only those with the power of Persona can enter the TV. In Persona 3 non-persona users are actually in coffins during this time. A process called in-game as Transmogrification. (The change of something ordinary into something fantastic or strange)

I find this interesting as well because access is restricted to non-persona users to the other world.
Now if you think about the idea of Multiple Personae, this is a gift bestowed upon ONLY the main character. Which you name at the beginning and all the dialogue that takes place is chosen by you the player. The multiple personae are “fused” in the Velvet Room, which only the Main Character can see, and enter.
As you level up, and gain experience you are able to hold more and more Personae in your head. These Personae can hold up to 8 abilities, and have different strengths and weaknesses. The Personae also are based mostly off of religious and demonic figures, with lower level personae representing vague demons, and higher level personae representing those with more history.

Now back to the psychological aspect. It is interesting to me that a non-talking character (which is obviously made so that you in effect ARE the main character, you can’t customize his appearance, but if you could, that would be the last straw at making him 100% in control of your customization) I think the reason the main character / you, are the only one that can change your said personae, and fuse new ones, is because only YOU, the player of the game / main character in the story has the ability to change your perception with regard to the situations at hand, which ties into the definitions I mentioned previously.

One interesting change from Persona 3 to Persona 4 is that, in Persona 3, the only person you could give commands to was the Main Character. This made boss fights more difficult and frustrating, because AI controlled your other 3 party members. Though the AI is pretty good about not using skills that are not in your favor, it is still cumbersome, because in order to figure out that an enemy is not affected by fire, your controlled characters will first use whatever their designated elemental skill is, and it may not be effective. They will stop using it if it is not effective, but most of the time after an analysis, you know which will, and will not work, and this doesn’t seem to carry over to other battles, as the AI only remembers so much.

The much needed ability to directly control the other characters in Persona 4 is much smoother. But I also think it takes away from the premise, that YOU are the main character and can only pull your own strings, and not the strings of your allies.

They do have an in-game explanation for this in Persona 4, and that is that you are directly telling them what to do in battle based off of their skills, but if an enemy overheard your main character telling you to blast some demon with a fire spell, obviously they might be ready for it and dodge. SO I feel this leaves something to be desired with regard to a proper explanation.

I hate to be so analytical of these two games, but it is part of my psychological analysis, and these games looked at separately or together in my opinion are some of the best RPG’s of all time that I have played. I do think they could have made Persona 4 a little bit fresher though, because unfortunately it’s basically the exact same thing, with a slightly different story.

My favorite thing to note is that the real world and the other world are mutually exclusive, except for the fact that you must have a persona to be aware of, or enter the other world. Persona can only be invoked in the “other-world” which is different from Persona 2, where there is no “other world” only the real world, and Persona can be invoked anywhere at any time, and people also use Persona for real life advantages, but not everyone possesses one.

The unifying messages of the Persona series is definitely of Friendship, and finding the Truth. With regard to the Friendship aspect, it is only with the power of those that you believe in, and believe in you, that you are able to kill the final bosses in both of these games. I am not yet sure about persona 2 because I haven’t completed it, and I am anxiously awaiting Persona 1 on PSP.

I also really like the difference in P4 and P3 with regard to getting your Persona. In both of the games the Main Character has it without undergoing any seemingly obvious change, as though it was fate, which ties in with the contract and the Velvet Room as well. There is no explanation for why the main in P3 has it, but in P4, the power was actually bestowed upon him by a celestial being posing as a human, experimenting on what could happen when said power is bestowed.

In P3, people are found with “the potential” they are discovered because they are conscious during the Dark Hour while the other persona users are active. In P4 (which I like the premise for this a lot more) because it ties in more with my psychology theme, people awaken to their persona during their experience on the other side, (which they are not supposed to be able to get there by conventional means, a persona user has to throw them in) they face the side of themselves they have been suppressing, and because they do this they gain power later, instead of having it bestowed. Which makes me kind of think the main character isn’t really deserving of the power, it was just given, instead of earned.

I also think that the whole “Social Links” in both games tie in very well too, because the Anima of real life and the relationships of the people to the Main Character become his power in the other world to fuse stronger and better personas with more versatile skills in order to overcome the Shadows in the other world.
I would also have to note that the presence of Shadows (which are your enemies in these games) is a psychological term as well. The psychological definition for this is: part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts, which in the game that is exactly what they are. The cumulative weakness of all people is basically what the shadows are in P4. But in P3 it has a different explanation for why they are there, basically a science experiment gone awry. Facing the shadow of yourself in the other world in P4 bestows upon you a persona, and maxing out a social link with a playable character basically “promotes” that persona (it has the same battle skills, just more defenses) So finding yourself by facing your shadow invokes persona, and clearing up the rest of the doubt of yourself makes persona even stronger.

Another interesting thing to note, is that all of the Personae, are actually broken down into categories of Major Arcana tarot cards. Which are loosely based on psychological profiles which can be generally applied for tarot card readings, which here is an odd fact about myself, but I used to be a tarot card reader. Never made money off it or anything, but I had a deck, and practiced doing it. Also the people based off of these general psychological profiles for the social links all hit the nail on the head with regard to the major arcana tarot cards they represent.

For instance Chie from P4 was the Chariot Social Link. Chariot represents physical strength, and the majority of the time Chie and MC (Main Character) are training physically to stop bullies. Becoming a better friend with her, unlocks personas with physical attack skills as the prevalent ability.

I could go on and on, but I suggest you look up the individual meanings yourself, and see how they apply to each individual character that you are curious about.

I know I might be wrong about a few of the Plot elements as I have not played P3 in awhile, so if you have any other information just go ahead and give it to me.

I would like to end with this. Teddie is my favorite character, because he is the only playable character which is a shadow, who brainwashes himself into forgetting he is a shadow, which transforms him into something else completely, and when he faces the shadow of who he is by hiding, he actually turns into a real person, and gains a persona. He is of the Star Arcana, and not only is he adorable and charming, and his Social Link is automatic, but he is also the best representation of the entire blog I just laid out with regard to the 3 phases I mentioned (Anima, Shadow and Persona) As Teddie lives his life, in and outside of the "other world'

If you don’t already have it, definitely give them a try, or pick up ANYTHING in the Shin Megami series, steal persona 1 and 2 online if you have to (not as good in my opinion so far of what I have played of P2.) but if you like those, P3 and 4 are better.

-Dan







Persona
10:42 PM on 03.31.2009

First and foremost, if the title threw you, this is obviously not a post that is going to contain much about video games, so if you are only interested in that, don't waste your time reading this.

***Rant first, Who I am, later.***

I am merely taking some of the heed and suggestion that I have been offered in ways that are malicious, or not, and am going to post a blog based on who I am. If it appears I am ranting, I am, and if it invokes an emotional response than do what the emo kids do, and cut yourself, keep your disenfranchising thoughts to yourself, they will either be mocked or ignored.

The most important thing to note is that I am definitely a "do something first, ask questions later" kind of guy. I have already been chasticised for this in my previous blogs. I posted a few quick blogs on my first day here, one with a picture of myself, one with my top 10 favorite hard RPG battles, one with a spoof on a movie that I thought was funny, and one with a pretty off the wall bad idea for a video game.

I have read the rules and regulations, and found out a few more of the "unposted" ones from other members on here. I was listening to all of the thoughts and comments I had recieved, and if it is found later that I am not obliging someone because they "deserve" it for being a member of this site longer than I, than I must say I simply couldn't care less. I am more concerned with myself, my hobbies, and my actions, than I am of those around me. If you think your going to faze me with useless commentary that is negative in a fruitless attempt to get me to change you are wrong. Any change that happens on my part is by choice, not initiated by anyone else. Also if you find a typo, and want to razz me over it, then use that talent and go be an editor somewhere it matters. Your talents of finding grammatical errors are only going to be useful to you if you are an english teacher or the aforementioned. Keep it to yourself. I write for enjoyment, not because I have any thoughts of publishing my blogs, and making it big. Delusional thoughts such as those are meant for people with their head in the clouds, unless they are actually pursuing it through the proper channels, my guess is that this is not one of them, unless they are using it to showcase noteworthy articles that have already been accredited.

I know this is me ranting a little bit about the way I have been treated thus far, but these rants are simply my way of telling the people that already dislike me, to buzz off. Find something else to do, I mean seriously, waxing religious regarding a gaming website, is a bit disorienting. If you have that much time, please get a life, I beg of you, being connected to this website 24/7 is not "cool," and is most likely interfering with your life. Go do charity, pick up a second job, whatever, your not my social case, and I refuse to deal with you.

***End Rant***

Now I will get to a more tranquil place and go ahead and do that I came here to do, and that is to divulge some information about myself. This is merely my attempt to seperate the people that are going to like me from the ones that are not. I could definitely use some friends to talk about video games with, as my current lifestyle is not allowing that right now.

So I guess I will jump into that first.

I work 44 hours a week as a Store manger of a shoe store. I am gay, and with regard to the picture I posted that is not my girlfriend. Gay bashing is for weak minded fools, and if you wish to do that, I will make certain that those comments are directed to someone capable of interfering with your ability to post, per the "rules and regulations" I was told to read multiple times.

Anyways. I am 23 years old, and I live in Davison, Michigan. I am a very strong minded, athletic person. I have a high amount of energy, and the way I choose to spend it is by working hard, working out 2 - 3 times a week for a period of 1-3 hours per visit to the gym, and I have a dog "Kiba" (who is a girl) and pretty much the only girl for me. She likes to run, and is most likely the cutest dog you will ever see

I am currently dating a wonderful guy who practically lives with me. His name is Josh, and he is 20 years old. I have known him for 6 months, and have been dating him for 2. In a few months when my lease expires I am going to be moving in with him. I am hoping to snag a cheap house since the economy sucks so bad right now.

Anyways, I am originally from Chicago, and as I was a Traveling Training Manager for my company I have worked all across the Midwest. I worked in Cincinnati and Cleveland Ohio, I worked in Aurora, Naperville, Schaumburg, Chicago, and a few other places in Illinois, and I worked in Pleasant Prairie WIsconsin, and also Rochester Hills, and Birch Run Michigan.

I love to travel, and I am the most fleighty person you will ever meet. I change my mind like I change T-Shirts, some of my opinions are set in store, and a lot of other ones are up in the air. I do not chastise people for being however they want to be, even if I find it distasteful. To each his own. It may seem as though I am being a bit "contra"dictory if you read my rant. But those who know me know, and this is the first step, so don't think you have all the answers quite yet. Idiosyncratic things such as "rape" will be ignored, oh did I mention I am random, and slightly bitter? lol

Which I am sure will now be my staple response to those that annoy me, as it seems to be the fitting one for "unsavory" blogs

Anyways, the most important thing to note is that my friends are everything to me. I also find that one can divulge a lot about a person based on who their friends are.

My best friends most of which I have known pretty much forever are extremely varied.

Mark Murray, He used to be in the Army, and fought for this country in the Iraq war, and his efforts should be applauded. He is my best video game buddy, but as I can't sit still and live in the same place for long periods of time because I love to meet new people and travel, I only get to see him about once a year. He is married and has one kid. He is just as into RPG's as me, and we used to stay up late in 8th grade and beat final fantasy 7 over and over again, we also constructed multitudes of lego armies. And had pretend RPG style fights with them.

Jenna Crismon. She is a school teacher, and one of the few girls I get along with. I don't like overly emotional people, I think its a weakness to constantly be annoyed / perplexed / overly happy and optimistic about something all the time. LIFE IS NOT THAT COMPLICATED, and neither is she. She is just as bitter and sarcastic as I am, and is with her long time boyfriend Mario who she is absolutely in love with. She is my role model with regards to her continuing education, as I am unable to sit still for long periods of time, unless it is to play video games or read dorky vampire love novels like Twilight. I wish I had finished College, but I still have no idea what I want to do. Maybe someday I will write a book, if I can keep myself in a chair for that long.

Kelly Hermanson. He is my best gay friend, we were on and off for the longest time. But now are just friends. He is my thinking friend, he is the one who questions me on everything I do, which makes me question myself, he keeps me real, and focused, and down to earth, even though I want to move to a new state every other weekend, and quit jobs for no apparant reason. He is into games too, just computer games, like wow, and such i play mine on the console, except my roms obviously

Anyways, I am a classic RPG lover, and that is what I do, when I am not spending time with my friends, or boyfriend, or traveling, or working out, or just plain working. I don't play as much as I used to, its depressing but it took me until a few days ago to beat Persona 4, and I had been playing it an hour here and there since I bought it on the day it came out.

Because I am saving up for a house, and just bought a new car VW 08 Rabbit, (im gay what did you expect)

I have been putting off buying a next gen system, because I feel that if I don't buy a new flatscreen to go along with it, then its not really next gen, so when I get my tax return, (which I still havent done, I always put that off to the last minute as I am a procrastinator) that is what I will do.

Anyways, I figure this covers most of the bases. If you are curious what kind of games I like, just look at my synopsis on my blog header, it has most of my collection listed there, along with a list of games I want to buy that I don't yet have.

If you have any productive questions (which my definiton means, questions without wasteful hostility) I will answer them as soon as I can. I plan to make this part of my routine of websites that I check daily, and hope I will have a different form of welcome than the one I had recieved in my other blogs.

I welcome opinions, and criticism of any kind, except for those outlined in ways I have already described.
Hope I make a few friends, and waste a little bit of time (oh yeah I only sleep like 4-6 hours max)
Ask me questions, and tell me stories.

Have a great night

-Dan